Ireland’s bid to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup has "received its biggest boost yet," after England decided to lend its support to the Irish Rugby Football Union, according to O'Reilly & Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. While the Rugby Football Union’s board "still has to ratify this decision" when it meets, two sources said that it will be backing Ireland to host the tournament, "ahead of rival bids from South Africa and France." A source from the IRFU said that the Irish bid team is "not confident of support from the Welsh or Scottish unions." At this stage, it is believed that South Africa is "just two votes short" of obtaining the 20 votes it requires to win the bid process. Should the South African Rugby Union "fall shy" of the required number in the first round of voting, then a second vote would be required. Providing Ireland finishes ahead of the French "if such a scenario were to unfold," then Ireland "would stand a chance of success," given that the French votes may be transferred Ireland’s way. A new controversy has "blown up" over the decision to recommend South Africa, rather than Ireland, as host after it was confirmed that bid inspectors did not consult Commonwealth Games execs on why they stripped Durban of the '22 event. World Rugby, which is voting on the host on Wednesday, admitted that the Commonwealth Games Federation was "not contacted to find out why it had taken the action against Durban in March." However, rugby's world governing body insisted that the necessary "due diligence" was carried out (LONDON TIMES, 11/14).
Events and Attractions
Cardiff is "set to re-bid to be a Euro 2020 host city, three years after originally missing out." Plans were originally approved in '14 but the city "lost out with its bid." Following doubts over the proposed Eurostadium in Grimbergen, Belgium, UEFA has begun a "fast-track process to pick an alternative city." The governing body invited Wembley, Cardiff and Stockholm to enter the process, and plans will be discussed by Cardiff Council on Thursday (BBC, 11/13).
England's national team will play friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy in March as part of its preparations for the World Cup in Russia, the FA announced. The Three Lions will travel to Amsterdam to take on Holland at the Johan Cruyff Arena on March 23 before welcoming Italy to Wembley Stadium on March 27 (London DAILY MAIL, 11/14).
Gaelic Athletic Association Dir General Páraic Duffy said that the GAA and Australian Football League are "looking at the possibility" of staging one of next year's tests in Philadelphia. This is driven by the AFL's "desire to use the international series as a promotional tool to raise the profile" of its game in the U.S., where the GAA already has a "significant presence." Duffy: "They're very keen on going to the States so we're going to push hard on that and see if it's possible" (IRISH TIMES, 11/14).